The Ontario Government confirmed the Royal Assent of Bill 87: Protecting Patients Act on May 30, 2017. This new law makes some important changes to the Regulated Health Professions Act which of course applies to Dentists.
Here are some of the more important parts of the new law:
- The penalties for failing to report sexual abuse of patients have been increased;
- The definition of “patient” (for the purposes of sexual abuse), is expanded to include an individual who was a member’s patient within the last year (or even longer if the Government wants to change the regulation);
- The grounds for mandatory revocation of a Dentist who has sexually abused a patient are expanded, and suspension is made mandatory in more sexual abuse cases (such as cases that do not involve conduct requiring mandatory revocation);
- The purposes for which the Government may require the RCDSO to collect information from Dentists are expanded to include health human resources research;
- The Government has more control to make regulations respecting the RCDSO’s panels and committees;
- The RCDSO is permitted to order the interim suspension of a Dentist at any time following the receipt of a complaint or after the appointment of an investigator (instead of only when a matter is referred for discipline or incapacity proceedings);
- Dentists are required to tell the RCDSO if they belong to professional bodies outside of Ontario, and if there has been a finding of professional misconduct or incompetence against them by such a body; and
- Dentists are required to inform and update the RCDSO (as soon as reasonably practicable) if they are charged with a criminal offence, and are required to provide information about bail conditions.